Dear readers, I’m coming up on an exciting milestone. June 6, 2016 will mark my four-year anniversary in San Francisco, as well as the beginning of the fifth year of writing this blog. Oh, how the time flies!
But I must admit something. When I started writing, I had no clear goals for this site or my blog; really, I just wanted to document the lessons I was learning, so I could someday go back and read them later. Gradually, and this might be true of all hobbies, I started refining my technique and approach, to create something that was a valuable resource not just for me me, but also for others. I then discovered that what I really wanted wasn't just to document, but to share.
Upon realizing that, I started writing posts that sounded authoritative and pedantic, as if they were coming from some sort of professor. To be fair, most of the amateur blogs I find take this approach. The reason is that you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, and giving people a directive, like telling you to meditate daily, is the easiest way to share the idea. But there’s a huge problem with this style of writing. No directive will be internalized unless the reader has an existing relationship of trust with the writer.
For example, if I tried giving you free money on the street, you probably wouldn’t take it. Because you’ve been conditioned your whole life to ignore scams that sound too good to be true. Only trust can open a person up to accepting the value that other people want to give. Which means, my challenge and job as a writer is actually more complex. Before I can take an idea of mine and tell you to apply it, I need to earn your trust. So, how do I do that?
Honestly, I think you just slowly build relationships with people, little by little, day by day, bit by bit. Trust isn’t something you can buy, and tricking people into believing you might work initially, but eventually people wise up and take their trust elsewhere. So, to do it right, it takes a lot of patience, and a lot of love.
In the four years of writing blogs for this site, I’ve realized that’s it’s not so much about the words I choose; it’s about the ideas being shared. And being an effective blogger is actually being someone who’s good at packaging ideas into words that will resonate with readers.
Communication is a medium-agnostic, fundamental human tool. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger or a musician, a chef or a painter, an engineer or a teacher; humans are always communicating things to the world through our lives. I might use my blog as a way to share my ideas, but I think it’s important not to be limited to just one kind of communication.
Because ultimately, my greatest communication asset is my own life. Which brings me to the question of, what am I really trying to say? Gandhi’s life-message was non-violence and freedom, for MLK Jr., it was about equality and justice; what's the message I'm trying to send? That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and very carefully. I have no doubt that my practice of regular blogging will help me in refining that message, whenever it becomes more pronounced. But until then, I remain dedicated to sharing any insights with you in a thoughtful way.
Ideas are fragile little things. They can’t be forced upon people, they have to be welcomed and nurtured, slowly and with trust. Only then, do they have a chance of spreading. That’s the most important thing: my full-circle-realization was that whatever change I wanted to make in others and the world, wasn’t something I could create myself; change can only be enabled. I can lead, but no matter what I write, I can’t affect people unless they’re ready for it, unless they trust me, and unless they want to make the change themselves.